Civil Affairs Group

#1
Hi, i'm an TA Officer Cadet with the Engineers and next year i have the opportunity to do a placement year as part of my university course. I've checked with the uni and they are quite happy for me to do something with the army for at least part of my year.
The reason i asked them is because i've had my eye on the Civil Affairs Group for a while because it is very relevant to my course, however i'm finding it very hard to find much information about them.

Is there anyone who is serving with them or has served with them? Or even just knows a contact i can talk to?

I'm going to try and get a look around some time which i should be able to get through my unit, and my CO has assured me that he is confident i'll be able to mobilise with them and is really keen. But i'm sure you will understand that i want to do as much work towards it myself as i can.
So far all i know is their CIMIC role, that they are mostly TA and that they're at Gib. Can anyone give me more details about there role without breaking Opsec?

Thanks guys.
 
#2
CAG was formed at the same time that cut-backs were being announced for much of the TA. A lot of CVHQRE made the move as their units were being disbanded/reformed, so you'll find a core of ex-engineers. Lots of other cap badges went in as well, RMP, RM, various Inf, RLC etc. Don't get the impression from this that they all jumped in expectation of being pushed - there's a lot of good people in there. From what I've seen (until last year, we had a combined study weekend and had combined military camps), they tend to be more mature than the average unit. This probably stems initially from the way they were founded but is also because, given the nature of their job, the rank structure is top-heavy compared to most military units.

We tend to take the mick a bit because their role isn't like the soldiering that we're used to - more tactful and diplomatic - but they still end up at the sharp end, so you can't really knock them. Having been on exercise with them, I know they've got a professional attitude to soldiering that is at least the equal of any other unit I've come across.

I'm not sure about getting a placement with them though, as you'd have to go through their training then volunteer for deployment - they're substantially a Specialist Unit - so it may not fit in conveniently with your course.
 
#3
Thanks mate, that's really helpful.
Does anyone know how long their training takes? Are we looking at a string of weekends or a camp?
Do they have any not so specialist roles such as drivers?
 
#4
smudge_re said:
my CO has assured me that he is confident i'll be able to mobilise with them .
He doesn't need to stick his neck out for that opinion. I think you can guarantee that you'll be sewing 'MND SE' badges on your shirts at the earliest ripping open of a brown envelope
 
#5
stabtastic said:
smudge_re said:
my CO has assured me that he is confident i'll be able to mobilise with them .
He doesn't need to stick his neck out for that opinion. I think you can guarantee that you'll be sewing 'MND SE' badges on your shirts at the earliest ripping open of a brown envelope
By that do you mean they mobilise a lot? (I'm aware they do) Or just that is should be easy enough for me to get involved?

Thanks
 
#7
Thanks, while i understand i have no experience what so ever operationally, the course i do is International Disaster Engineering and Management with an element of emergency management. I am not OTC, i'm group A TA RE. Please, nobody take that as arrsey. I really appreciate all these responses as i am the first to admit i know very little about the unit and am on a bit of a fact finding mission.
 
#8
Vonshot has hit the nail on the head in respect of make up and approx 80% have mobilised and the rest probably will next year when Afghanistan becomes a main effort.

There is one Civil Affairs course which is usually held in Nov each year and trains both Reg and TA. Criteria for acceptance is based on a selection weekend.

CAG is no more - it is called Joint CIMIC Group (JCG) and is now tri service. There are no young 'grads in training' all members have professional backgrounds where they put the theory into operational practice. In short a lot of skill in a small unit. The 'team culture' is right. Whilst respecting rank it is the skills that the individual can bring to the table. Hence you may find lance jacks neigotiating with local war lords one day but filling the vehicles up the next!

Ring the PSAO at Gib and seek his views - he is a thoroughly nice chap! You are doing the right degree but that is only one element - can you negotiate at all levels, chair meetings, have the skill to influence decision makers and demonstrate some practical experience?
 
#10
smudge_re said:
Hi, i'm an TA Officer Cadet with the Engineers and next year i have the opportunity to do a placement year as part of my university course. I've checked with the uni and they are quite happy for me to do something with the army for at least part of my year....I'm going to try and get a look around some time which i should be able to get through my unit, and my CO has assured me that he is confident i'll be able to mobilise with them and is really keen...
I met an engineering or something student who was in a similar situation as you about two years ago. He ended up taking an Undergraduate Army Placement, which got him everything he wanted except deployability (because he was a Gap Year mong).
He did it because there was no guarantee he'd be able to get mobilised for even part of his year in industry.

I presume you'll want to attend TACC before getting mobilised.

Remember, when officers get keen, it doesn't necessarily mean it'll happen...

Since you seem to be on the ball about planning early though, I'm very sure you'll find a way of spending your time mobilised, though not necessarily with CIMIC. Just my hazarded guesstimate.

I hope you enjoy CIMIC House. Heard it rains a lot there.
 
#12
Would they be interested in civilian police officers with requisite professional/ operational experience who aren't particularly interested in RMP TA? I'm ex-TA, sounds right up my strasse.

V!
 
#13
They'd probably be interested - I've met a few bobbies with them over the years BUT the bobbies were all currently trained TA personnel or Regular RMP. As far as I'm aware, you can't JOIN them, but you can TRANSFER into them. As with most Specialist Units, they'll want to channel your existing skills, rather than teach you from scratch. If you're a recent ex-TA and have the skills they need at the time, you may stand a chance.

For more info, look at:

http://www.army.mod.uk/cimic/vacancies.htm
 
#14
Unfortunately I'm ancient ex-TA.

I think that a civil affairs role would be the perfect TA job for me given my civilian experience, and the RMP TA (no disrespect to them) would be too much of a busman's holiday for me. I'm ex-TA INT CORPS but starting all over again would (to be honest) be a drag. I'd be a happy CIMIC OPS pte but an unhappy, starting-all-over-again int l/cpl methinks.

The spams seem to have this one right in principle by directly recruiting this type of specialist direct.

V!
 
#15
Veg,

They'll be looking for the skills and experience that you have, not necessarily your job description. Were you to rejoin the TA (any branch, not necessarily RMP) to get your military skills up to date, then transfer to JCG could be a possibility. Again, it would depend on what they want at the time.

As far as the Spams are concerned, JCG are generally regarded as the more credible organisation. The US Civil Affairs are often perceived as a group looking for US civilian contractor opportunities while JCG promote host nation self-help.
 
#18
With regard to the ORs "getting the shovel out," you'll find this in all Specialist Units and many others where skills vie against military hierarchy. If the Private has specialist skills, he leads the team (but has a SNCO or above with him to defend him from the flak and to liaise). If a hole needs digging, it's the same Private that does it because the Army doesn't like to see WO1s digging holes while Privates are drinking tea.

It's a concept that many units find hard to come to terms with. To a large extent it's play-acting for the sake of appearance. The regular Infantry CSM wouldn't dream of digging a hole (he's progressed since those days). The TA Independent Infantry CSM may dig a bit of a hole to show that he's still "one of the boys." The TA Specialist Unit WO1 will share digging a hole - provided that nobody sees it - because the workload is shared according to ability, not rank.

With JCG having a mix of capbadges and Regular/TA, it's going to be a while before they're sufficiently established to be able to say "Well, this is the way that WE do it."
 
#20
Whats it take to be in CIMIC? I'm a Pte. infantryman by trade but through the course of time and my masters have worked on a number of development projects from jungle indigenous communities to refugee camps, mostly creating, organizing or running projects of whatever, medical, educational design or organizing local NGOs rather than a specific trade.

Been dying to find a way to mix my lust for soldiering with my desire for something a little more humanitarian.
 

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